Myrmecina graminicola

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Myrmecina graminicola
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmicinae
Tribe: Crematogastrini
Genus: Myrmecina
Species: M. graminicola
Binomial name
Myrmecina graminicola
(Latreille, 1802)

Myrmecina graminicola casent0008643 profile 1.jpg

Myrmecina graminicola casent0008643 dorsal 1.jpg

Specimen Label

Synonyms

Photo Gallery

  • Myrmecina graminicola worker. Photo by Michal Kukla.

Identification

Blackish brown with front of head, underside and appendages rusty yellow. Body and appendages strongly haired. Antennae with intermediate funicular segments transverse. Pronotum with angled antero-lateral corners. Head and alitrunk strongly rugose. Length: 3-3.6 mm (Collingwood 1979).

Keys including this Species

Distribution

Portugal to Caucasus, North Africa to Sweden (Collingwood 1979).

Distribution based on Regional Taxon Lists

Palaearctic Region: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Balearic Islands, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Channel Islands, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, Denmark (type locality), France, Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iberian Peninsula, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Distribution based on AntMaps

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Distribution based on AntWeb specimens

Check data from AntWeb

Biology

Collingwood (1979) - This is a sluggish slow moving species; workers are often found individually in nests of other ant species and on disturbance tend to curl into a tight ball. Colonies occur under stones in stony pastures and in open woodland and may consist of several hundred workers with several queens and often including intermediate forms between worker and queen. This species is mainly scavenging and does not attend aphids. Alatae are developed during late summer and have been taken outside nests from August to October.

Female polymorphism: M. gram. erg, int, gyn..jpg

Apart from ordinary workers (E = ergatomorph) and winged gynes (G) a range of intermorphs (I) exists. Gynes and all variations of intermorphs may be inseminated and function as colony queens. Colonies with gynomorphic queens are always monogynous, whereas colonies with intermorphic queens may be monogynous or polygynous. (Buschinger & Schreiber 2002)


Reproduction

The species exhibits a marked queen polymorphism. Females in laboratory mating cages were found to release a pheromone by touching their gaster to the substrate where they are standing, after having moved out of the nest and climbed towards the top of the cage. Mating typically occurred within seconds of pheromone release. The source of the sex pheromone was found to be the poison gland. (Buschinger 2003, 2005)

Since the original paper of Buschinger 2005 on the genetic origin of queen polymorphism in M. graminicola is difficult to access the abstract is reproduced here:

Alfred Buschinger (2005): Experimental Evidence for Genetically Mediated Queen Polymorphism in the Ant species Myrmecina graminicola (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). - Entomologia Generalis 27: 185-200.

Abstract

Controlled mating of gynomorphic (gyn/gyn) and intermorphic (gyn/int or int/int) females of Myrmecina graminicola (Latreille, 1802) with gyn- or int-males, respectively, and rearing of their sexual offspring revealed that the genotypes of the parents are decisive of the phenotypes of female progeny. Female sexuals, both gynomorphs and intermorphs, exhibit a kind of sexual calling behavior, the gynomorphs flying only little. Males are attracted by poison gland secretion of the females. Colony foundation success of mated queens was enhanced by adding a few workers from the parental colony, and worker pupae and larvae from other colonies. The first sexual offspring was reared in the colonies in the 2nd to 6th artificial surnmer season. In up to four "summers" always the same phenotype(s) of young queens were produced in a given colony. Gynomorphs (gyn/gyn) mated with a son of a gynomorph (gyn-male) always produced gynomorphs (workers and a few males in addition). Intermorphs mated with a gyn-male either produced both gynomorphs and intermorphs(gyn/gyn and gyn/int, if the queen was a gyn/int heterozygote), or only intermorphs. Since gyn/int-females and int/int-females (both intermorphic) are morphologically indistinguishable, as well as gyn-males and int-males (both identically looking alate males), the putative genotype of intermorphs and int-males had to be idcntified according to the phenotypes of their mothers and later produced sisters in the laboratory-reared parental colonies. The effects of the hypothesized alleles gyn and int are similar to e and E in Harpagoxenus sublaevis and Leptothorax sp-A in that int is dominant in preventing the development of gynomorphs from gyn/int-larvae. This is the third example of a genetically mediated queen polymorphism in an ant species confirmed by crossbreeding experiments, and the first instance in a tribe (Myrmecinini) outside the Formicoxenini. The principle may be involved in other instances of queen polymorphism among ants.

Castes

Worker

Queen

Nomenclature

The following information is derived from Barry Bolton's New General Catalogue, a catalogue of the world's ants.

  • graminicola. Formica graminicola Latreille, 1802c: 255 (w.q.m.) DENMARK. Senior synonym of bidens, latreillii: Mayr, 1855: 421; of striatula: Mayr, 1855: 421; Nylander, 1856b: 96; Forel, 1915d: 20; Donisthorpe, 1915d: 76; Brown, 1951: 106; of grouvellei: Müller, 1923: 81; Brown, 1951: 106; Agosti & Collingwood, 1987a: 54; of kutteri: Brown, 1951: 106; Baroni Urbani, 1971c: 95; of dentata, gotlandica, oelandica: Rigato, 1999: 86. See also: Atanassov & Dlussky, 1992: 177.
  • latreillii. Myrmecina latreillii Curtis, 1829: 265 (m.) GREAT BRITAIN. Curtis, 1854: 219 (q.). Junior synonym of graminicola: Mayr, 1855: 421.
  • striatula. Myrmica striatula Nylander, 1849: 40 (w.) RUSSIA. Subspecies of graminicola: Emery, 1898c: 131. Junior synonym of graminicola: Mayr, 1855: 421; Nylander, 1856b: 96; Forel, 1915d: 20; Donisthorpe, 1915d: 76; Brown, 1951: 106.
  • bidens. Myrmica bidens Foerster, 1850a: 50 (w.q.) GERMANY. Schenck, 1852: 95 (m.). Junior synonym of graminicola: Mayr, 1855: 421.
  • kutteri. Myrmecina kutteri Forel, 1914b: 1 (w.) ITALY. [Also described as new by Forel, 1915d: 21 (w.q.m.).] Subspecies of graminicola: Emery, 1916b: 171. Junior synonym of graminicola: Brown, 1951: 106.
  • grouvellei. Myrmecina graminicola var. grouvellei Bondroit, 1918: 116, fig. 58 (w.) FRANCE. Junior synonym of graminicola: Müller, 1923: 81.
  • gotlandica. Myrmecina graminicola subsp. gotlandica Karavaiev, 1930b: 146 (w.) SWEDEN. Junior synonym of graminicola: Rigato, 1999: 86.
  • oelandica. Myrmecina graminicola subsp. oelandica Karavaiev, 1930b: 146 (w.q.) SWEDEN. Junior synonym of graminicola: Rigato, 1999: 86.
  • dentata. Myrmecina graminicola var. dentata Santschi, 1939d: 77 (w.) TUNISIA. Junior synonym of graminicola: Rigato, 1999: 86.

Description

References

  • Agosti, D.; Collingwood, C. A. 1987a. A provisional list of the Balkan ants (Hym. Formicidae) and a key to the worker caste. I. Synonymic list. Mitt. Schweiz. Entomol. Ges. 60: 51-62 (page 54, Senior synonym of grouvellei)
  • Atanassov, N.; Dlussky, G. M. 1992. Fauna of Bulgaria. Hymenoptera, Formicidae. Fauna Bûlg. 22: 1-310 (page 177, see also)
  • Baroni Urbani, C. 1971c. Catalogo delle specie di Formicidae d'Italia (Studi sulla mirmecofauna d'Italia X). Mem. Soc. Entomol. Ital. 50: 5-287 (page 95, Senior synonym of kutteri)
  • Brown, W. L., Jr. 1951. New synonymy of a few genera and species of ants. Bull. Brooklyn Entomol. Soc. 46: 101-106 (page 106, Senior synonym of striatula. grouvellei and kutteri)
  • Buschinger, A. 2003. Mating behavior in the ant, Myrmecina graminicola (Myrmicinae). Insectes Sociaux. 50:295-296.
  • Buschinger, A. 2005: Experimental Evidence for Genetically Mediated Queen Polymorphism in the Ant species Myrmecina graminicola (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). - Entomologia Generalis 27: 185-200
  • BUSCHINGER, A., SCHREIBER, M. 2002: Queen polymorphism and queen-morph related facultative polygyny in the ant, Myrmecina graminicola (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Insectes soc. 49, 344-353.
  • Collingwood, C. A. 1979. The Formicidae (Hymenoptera) of Fennoscandia and Denmark. Fauna Entomol. Scand. 8:1-174.
  • Donisthorpe, H. 1915f. British ants, their life-history and classification. Plymouth: Brendon & Son Ltd., xv + 379 pp. (page 76, Senior synonym of striatula)
  • Forel, A. 1915d. Fauna insectorum helvetiae. Hymenoptera. Formicidae. Die Ameisen der Schweiz. Mitt. Schweiz. Entomol. Ges. 12(B Beilage: 1-77 (page 20, Senior synonym of striatula)
  • Kvamme, T.; Midtgaard, F. 1984. Myrmecina graminicola (Latreille, 1802) (Hym., Formicidae) new to the Norwegian fauna. Fauna Norv. Ser. B 31: 64-65 (page 64, record in Norway)
  • Latreille, P. A. 1802b. Histoire naturelle générale et particulière des Crustacés et des insectes. Tome 3. Familles naturelles des genres. Paris: F. Dufart, xii + 467 pp. (page 255, worker, queen, male described)
  • Mayr, G. 1855. Formicina austriaca. Beschreibung der bisher im österreichischen Kaiserstaate aufgefundenen Ameisen, nebst Hinzufügung jener in Deutschland, in der Schweiz und in Italien vorkommenden Arten. Verh. Zool.-Bot. Ver. Wien 5: 273-478 (page 421, Senior synonym of bidens and latreillei)
  • Mayr, G. 1855. Formicina austriaca. Beschreibung der bisher im österreichischen Kaiserstaate aufgefundenen Ameisen, nebst Hinzufügung jener in Deutschland, in der Schweiz und in Italien vorkommenden Arten. Verh. Zool.-Bot. Ver. Wien 5: 273-478 (page 421, Senior synonym of striatula)
  • Müller, G. 1923b. Le formiche della Venezia Guilia e della Dalmazia. Boll. Soc. Adriat. Sci. Nat. Trieste 28: 11-180 (page 81, Senior synonym of grouvellei)
  • Nylander, W. 1856b. Synopsis des Formicides de France et d'Algérie. Ann. Sci. Nat. Zool. (4) 5: 51-109 (page 96, Senior synonym of striatula)